Missouri retains No. 11 rank on cost-of-living index

From The Springfield Business Journal Missouri ranked 11th in the second quarter on a recently released cost-of-living study, on par with the first quarter of the year. The Show-Me State’s cost-of-living index for the three-month period was 91.6 on a 100-point scale measuring groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous services and products. A lower score indicates lesser costs, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center of the Department of Economic Development, citing data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. During the quarter ended June 30, Missouri’s index scores were: •    78.6 in housing; •    94.2 in groceries; •    94.8 in transportation; •    95.1 in the miscellaneous category; •    97.2 in health care; •    105.8 in utilities. The No. 1 state was Mississippi, which held an overall rank of 84.3. Hawaii bottomed the list with its 166.9 index, according to the study.

Missouri enters data center competition with new tax breaks

For years, Associated Industries sponsored this legislation. AIM knew it would work, and now the proof is in the data centers, so to speak. AIM is now working on legislation that will codify the existing data center exemptions that are available to all data centers as a result of some court cases. Look for it this coming legislative session. From the Associated Press When Internet service provider Bluebird Network bought a Springfield computer data center last year, it did so with the intent of gradually expanding it over the next few years. Those plans changed when a new Missouri law took effect this summer offering tax breaks to data centers. That prompted Bluebird Network to accelerate its expansion plans, the first company to publicly cite the new incentives as a reason. “It is encouraging us to move more rapidly,” said Michael Morey, president and CEO of the Columbia-based company. The tax break could save the company an estimated $191,000 on

read more Missouri enters data center competition with new tax breaks

Missouri faces steeper carbon cuts under Obama rules

The EPA is moving the bar when it comes to the so-called “Clean Power Plan” and it’s going to increase costs for all electric utilities in the state and all customers of those utilities, including both business and residential customers. AIM president Ray McCarty was at a stakeholder meeting last Wednesday where these regulations were discussed. As he wrote in a blog post following that meeting: “The federal government apparently believes if they put requirements in regulations, technology will suddenly appear to meet the requirements of the regulation. Last time I checked, scientific development of new technologies simply does not work that way, and all consumers, including Missouri employers, will pay the price for this shortsighted regulation”. AIM believes that the “Clean Power Plan” will cause energy costs to balloon for both manufacturers and individual customers alike. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch  Revised federal rules will require steeper cuts to Missouri’s heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, putting greater pressure on the state and

read more Missouri faces steeper carbon cuts under Obama rules

Missouri regulators say new Ameren data call its models into doubt

This was a follow up meeting of the Clean Air Commission in the wake of the recent findings by AIM Chairman’s Council member Ameren. Once again, the results of the commission’s vote is a big win for Ameren. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch State regulators say they can’t tell if Ameren Missouri’s Labadie coal plant is causing air pollution violations, giving the utility more time to measure air quality in Franklin and St. Charles counties before the state could take action to curb the plant’s emissions. New data gathered by Ameren made the Missouri Department of Natural Resources second-guess its models, which suggested the area was violating sulfur dioxide limits. The DNR considered recommending a “nonattainment” designation, which would start the clock on a plan to curb emissions from the state’s largest source of the pollutant. But the department ended up agreeing with Ameren that the utility’s new monitoring data called those models into question. Besides, the DNR said

read more Missouri regulators say new Ameren data call its models into doubt

NAM: EPA’s Ozone Rules “Wildly” Miss The Mark

In an op-ed for The Hill’s (9/24, Porter) “Congress Blog,” J. Winston Porter, an energy and environmental consultant, states that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone rules have “pushed aside” science and expert opinions “in favor of politics” to create “unachievable goals and real economic pain.” According to Porter, the EPA’s claims that the regulations will improve the nation’s health “rests on shaky ground.” Porter also questions how the EPA could say that economic impacts cannot be considered “when building regulations” are devised, when at the same time the agency is “citing potential economic benefits from improved health.” Porter argues that “sound regulation must rest on science, not politics,” and since the scientific justification for the ozone regulations are “full of holes,” the “EPA’s ozone proposal wildly misses this mark.” Proposed EPA Ozone Regulations Stir Sentiments In Indiana Ahead Of Deadline. The Indianapolis Star (9/24, Groppe) reports that the EPA’s new regulations on ground-level ozone have both supporters and opponents

read more NAM: EPA’s Ozone Rules “Wildly” Miss The Mark

Missouri Department of Natural Resources and EPA hold stakeholder meeting on Obama’s “Clean Out Your Wallet” Power Plan

On Wednesday, September 23, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources held a stakeholder meeting regarding the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan.” Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency also presented information during the meeting. The knowledgeable staff of the DNR properly presented information regarding technical aspects of the Clean Power Plan that will, according to the EPA’s own cost estimates, boost utility bills by billions nationwide. Missouri, a state that currently gets more than 80% of its electricity from coal-fired generation will be one of the hardest hit states, according to the presentation and information provided by the EPA. After the presentations, the staff of both government agencies took questions from the audience, mostly from environmental groups and those connected with renewable energy industries. While the plan depends on a monumental increase in the use of renewable energy sources, the plan does not provide information on HOW such renewable energy may be used for primary generation of electricity. “As I listened to

read more Missouri Department of Natural Resources and EPA hold stakeholder meeting on Obama’s “Clean Out Your Wallet” Power Plan

Coal group defends Ameren, insists St. Louis air is clean

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch Finally, someone comes up with real results from tests on Missouri’s air. AIM and Ameren have fought environmental groups that rely on out of date studies to make their points. We now have science that proves Ameren’s work in clean coal technology is making a difference. A new report from a national coal industry group says Ameren Missouri’s power plants have not hurt air quality in the St. Louis region. The report was publicized just days before the Missouri Air Conservation Commission is to decide whether to rein in air pollution from Ameren Missouri’s Labadie coal plant, the largest in the state. Gradient Corp., an environmental science consulting firm, wrote the report, which was commissioned by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. Ameren and Peabody Energy, both based in St. Louis, and Arch Coal, of Creve Coeur, are members of the Clean Coal group. The national coal group has entered the fray as

read more Coal group defends Ameren, insists St. Louis air is clean

Boeing Hosts China President Xi Jinping, Announces Airplane Sales, Expanded Collaboration with China’s Aviation Industry

It’s been an important week for AIM Circle of Elite Organizations member Boeing. From Boeing Mediaroom Boeing (NYSE: BA) this week welcomed China President Xi Jinping to its widebody commercial airplane factory and announced several agreements that will broaden and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between Boeing and China. The agreements include orders and commitments for 300 Boeing narrowbody and widebody aircraft and expanded collaboration between Boeing and China’s commercial aviation industry. Together, Boeing and China committed to further advance development of China’s commercial aviation industry and meet strategic business objectives for Boeing in the world’s largest airplane market going forward. President Xi, accompanied by Boeing executives, viewed final assembly lines for the 787 Dreamliner, 777 and 747-8, as well as aircraft components made by Chinese aviation suppliers. The president also spoke with Boeing employees and the 787 chief pilot about their work on airplanes built for Chinese carriers. Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Boeing appreciated China’s continued trust and

read more Boeing Hosts China President Xi Jinping, Announces Airplane Sales, Expanded Collaboration with China’s Aviation Industry

DNR finds area around Ameren’s Labadie power plant “unclassifiable”

From Missouri Public Radio The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is recommending that the area around Ameren’s Labadie power plant be designated as “unclassifiable” for sulfur dioxide pollution. That means state regulators could not determine whether or not air quality in those parts of Franklin and St. Charles counties meets the federal health standard. This is a victory for AIM and Ameren. Throughout the last session, AIM fought for legislation that required DNR to make its decisions on air quality based on actual, up-to-date, monitoring. It appears in this case that DNR has done this and come up with conclusions it did not expect.   The state had three alternatives for designating the levels of sulfur dioxide around the Labadie plant: attainment, nonattainment and unclassifiable. Here is how those designations are defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): Nonattainment: An area that the EPA has determined violates the 2010

read more DNR finds area around Ameren’s Labadie power plant “unclassifiable”

Kansas City attorney declares local minimum wage hike dead

Kansas City Attorney Bill Geary says a vote by the Missouri General Assembly killed a local minimum wage increase passed by the City Council this summer. Lawmakers voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that forbids cities from raising the minimum wage above the state level of $7.65. Associated Industries of AIM was a strong supporter of that bill. The Kansas City Council voted in July to gradually increase the local minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020. But the law hadn’t gone into effect because of a referendum campaign aimed at repealing it. Meanwhile, a group of civil rights and low-wage worker advocates gathered sufficient petition signatures to put a measure on the local November ballot calling for a $15 minimum wage by 2020. In a statement to The Star, Geary said the vote by the Missouri Legislature voids the local ordinance and makes any future local referendum moot. “We are working with the election

read more Kansas City attorney declares local minimum wage hike dead